My wife and I visited the Rockefellers Friday, more specifically took the tour of Kykuit. Over the years we've visited the homes of the Vanderbilts, the Ogden Mills, the Roosevelts,and other formerly rich and famous people who lived a few weeks in the year in the Hudson River valley.
Rockefeller and Vanderbilt rank 1, 2 on this list of the wealthiest Americans. While both places are large and nice, I was more at home in Sunnyside, the relatively modest home of Washington Irving. Perhaps it was the crumbled paper on the floor of his office/writing room, perhaps it was the way he got hot water, by running pipes through the coal stove and into a tank, much the same way my family got its hot water some 100 years later.
All these houses seem stuck in time; they were very modern in their day but as time passed and their owners aged, and sometimes lost their money, they weren't updated. I wonder whether Bill Gates will leave his house to the nation upon his death, and whether it will still have the flat screens on the walls displaying the pictures/photographs he bought (I'm going on memory here) and whether people will experience a mix of emotions as they tour, both respect for the money and disdain for the backwardness of the taste.